EFN Report Summer 2013: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2013 and 2014

The structural problems in emerging economies, the still mild recovery in the USA and the on-going crisis in the euro area will probably keep world economic growth subdued at least for the rest of 2013. Current and expected future monetary policy in Japan and, in particular, in the USA have heightened volatility in global bond and stock markets, including those of the euro area, though much less than during the crisis episodes. The process of consolidation of public finance in many euro area countries has become slightly less ambitious but it will continue to weigh on the economy in 2013, though less than in 2012. For this reason and for the lower expected global growth, we have revised downward our GDP forecasts for 2013 from previous reports. Now, we expect GDP to be -0.5 per cent lower in 2013 than in 2012, with considerable risks of an even stronger contraction. In 2014, when fiscal policy might be close to neutral, and if reforms continue to be, by and large, successfully implemented, the euro area economy should start to close its wide output gap with an expected GDP growth of about 1.2%, again subject to downwards risks. Moreover, this will not be sufficient to lower the unemployment rate, which actually could further increase to about 12.5%. The interest rates cut in May 2013 shows the will of the ECB to keep monetary policy expansive, but credit conditions and lending rates remain quite heterogeneous across the member countries. Despite the interest rate cut, euro area inflation is still very likely to remain significantly below the ECB target throughout our forecasting period. Our inflation expectations for 2013 have moderated to a y-o-y rate of 1.5%, and they remain subdued also in 2014, at about 1.4%.

20. June 2013

Authors European Forecasting Network

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